It seems like Google changes their results ranking criteria more often than you change your socks, and now the latest new twist on the formula has come along, and it’s called voice search. With search algorithms to be heavily geared toward voice search for the foreseeable future, you need to know the right steps to take to get or maintain a first-page spot in the search results for your focused keywords.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best tips from the professionals on how to optimize your site and prepare it for voice search.
Focus your content with local SEO in mind
Data shows that the vast majority of internet searches done using voice search are to try to find information related to something local. Most commonly, people use voice searches to try and find local businesses offering specific goods or services. Google recognizes this and has started weighing their search results accordingly, so make sure your website is designed in a way that would make it a valuable local resource.
While no data is yet made available by Google to detail the specific terms used in voice searches, it’s not difficult to figure out what those search terms might look like. It’s expected that voice searches will be phrased as questions (as in “What time does Pathmark open?”) rather than a statement (such as “Pathmark hours”) to mimic natural conversation.
Plan around long tail keywords
The understanding that voice search will probably sound more like a natural conversation rather than traditional “internet shorthand” should give you a good idea of how to write your SEO content. Try and focus on long tail keywords that would sound like actual questions voice searchers would ask, and don’t hesitate to include keywords with 7 or 8 words.
Keep it short
Unlike the traditional advice to be as detailed (read: useful) to a visitor as possible, voice search takes us in completely the opposite direction and favors content that still gives valuable information, but is kept concise. The logic is that voice searchers don’t want to sit through a lengthy dissertation, they just want answers, so it’s best for you to provide that information with minimal delay.
Try to provide content that could become a featured snippet
If you’ve done a Google search recently, you’ve probably noticed that above the natural results is a box with a short and informative paragraph answering your question in basic terms. These paragraphs are called featured snippets and are chosen to answer specific questions that many people ask. Adding a FAQ is a great way to get your content selected as a featured snippet.
Keep it straightforward
Since voice searchers are much more likely to listen to answers than read them, Google will give priority to content that is easily heard and understood. This can be difficult for naturally verbose people, but you need to keep your language simple and don’t let sentences get too long.
Voice search is an exciting new twist on SEO because it adds an entirely new dimension to (and in some cases flatly contradicts) the tried and true methods of climbing search results. If you want to practice proper SEO campaign management, follow the tips above and get ahead of the game and to the top of the voice search results.